The Power of the Ombudsman

“Implementing the Children’s Act and giving the Commissioner for Children the power of the ombudsman are two electoral promises that Opposition Leader Alfred Sant made yesterday during the presentation of the party’s proposed policies for the family and social policy.” – TMI 12.02.08

Come again? Power of the what? You mean the power to write reports that will be collectively ignored by the whole of Parliament? You mean the frustrating kind of job where your recommendations are shot down on the basis of political convenience?

The Ombudsman – another cosmetic brought to you by MLPN productions … coming soon the Commissioner for Children … for those days when your children are feeling unprotected and powerless… reports, reports and reports.

And since when is implementing a law an electoral promise? I thought that came automatically with the job.

This too is why the political system needs to be changed.

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4 responses to “The Power of the Ombudsman

  1. The Ombudsman is a good MLPN product… The reports carry a considerable amount of weight and there are times when the recommendations are adhered to. Such institutions can only strengthen the accountability.

  2. First of all, the Ombudsman is a good PN product. Labour had it promised in its 1981 manifesto (as had the Nationalist Party), did nothing about it and then, on the eve of the 1987 election the late Guze Cassar, then Deputy PM, said that the Government had not introduced the ombudsman because it felt there was no need for it …

    Jacques, you’re getting your branches of state confused. The Ombudsman is an official of Parliament who makes recommendations on the operations of the Executive. Most cases upheld by the Ombudsman are dealt with successfully by the Executive the only notable exception being the case of promotions in the AFM. I’m not familiar with the details but I understand the case is particular and sensitive.

    The being “ignored by Parliament” is actually a complaint bu Joe Sammut (the incumbent’s predecessor) lamenting that no MP commented on his annual report … a non-sequitur, I trust you agree.

  3. The Ombudsman is more than a good thing. I am quite aware of the branches of state thank you. Together with Andre Zerafa and Conrad Portanier I drafted recommendations on the Ombudsman White Paper when I was still a green member of SDM (as in new). When cases and suggestions are upheld it is all the better. When organs like the Ombusdman are ignored or used only to blow party trumpet then their function is neutered. Not much of a non-sequitur. A frustrated Ombudsman does not speak out for nothing.

  4. And, btw, there is no Children’s Act. It’s a case of poor choice of words on the part of TMID. Labour had proposed a Children’s Act to complement the Children’s Commissioner Act — there is, to date, no such law on our statute books.

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